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Old 11-13-2008, 11:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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slicing a computer

I'm an art student and I was thinking of slicing a computer for my sculpture project. Slicing as in like a loaf of bread, but I wanted to know if there are any hazards i should be aware of before I go cutting into it and mercury spills out or something. I know thats pretty far fetched, but I figured I should find out anyway. Any information will help.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't think there's any liquid mercury to worry about, but there are plenty of toxins. Don't inhale the dust; solder contains lead, and many of the plastics in a computer will release poisonous gases when they're heated by the friction of cutting. I think the bigger problem you'll face is getting clean cuts, considering you're slicing through different thicknesses of different materials.
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Fill it with expanding foam, and cut it using a band saw.

That should stop the pieces falling out.

Nice idea.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Fill it with expanding foam, and cut it using a band saw.

That should stop the pieces falling out.

Nice idea.
I agree. There are more hollow spaces inside a desk top than there are solid. A laptop is more condensed but a cut through might not reveal as much. Might be better to cut a laptop diagonally.

A neat idea would be to creat an expanded, 3-D type view of a desk top. You could use wire to connect all the pieces. You could even suspend it and the parts could be connected with fishing line so you wouldn't even see the lines!

Please post a photo if you do anything with this project.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot! These are all good ideas. Getting clean cuts was one of my worries. The good thing is that I have two computers I can use just in case I end up making a mess of the first one. I really liked thinkstodo's idea of a 3-D view. Thanks for all your ideas, I will definitely consider all of them and I will make sure to post a picture of the finished product.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wouldn't try actually making clean cuts all the way through a whole, complete system. I can't imagine that resulting in actually clean cuts. The point here is that the finished product LOOKS like that's what happened, right? I'd empty the case and cut it separately, then re-install the components, cut/hacked/broken to match.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wouldn't try actually making clean cuts all the way through a whole, complete system. I can't imagine that resulting in actually clean cuts. The point here is that the finished product LOOKS like that's what happened, right? I'd empty the case and cut it separately, then re-install the components, cut/hacked/broken to match.
I think he makes a good point. It would take a REALLY sharp band saw, and large as well.
Before you work with it, you might want to sand down the edges.
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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but there are plenty of toxins. Don't inhale the dust; solder contains lead, and many of the plastics in a computer will release poisonous gases when they're heated by the friction of cutting. I think the bigger problem you'll face is getting clean cuts, considering you're slicing through different thicknesses of different materials.
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This sounds like a potential Darwin award in the making.... If you do it to a laptop i'd make sure you remove that battery first.... I'd also be worried about cutting through the power supply.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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yeah....I went with another idea. my professor didn't want me cutting through it. he thought it would be too dangerous. I dropped the whole idea after about a week of thinking it through. thanks for all your help though. I really appreciate it.
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